Tips For Making Great Play Recipes With Kids

play recipes

Asia Citro has no issue with getting messy. The former science teacher turned blogger turned book author has devoted many many hours to finding just the right combinations of ingredients for amazing sensory play.  I appreciate this because much like baking I am great at playing with these recipes and even creating activities to do with them once they are done but I am no good at creating the recipes. Recipes like these are precise , not really my strong suit. It is Asia’s. I received this book free for review and you should probably know the author and I are friends. I hope it’s clear to all my readers I wouldn’t promote something unless it was rad even if my friend wrote it.

banana playdough

In her new book 150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids (affiliate link) she not only shares amazing screen free ideas she shares some exclusive play recipes, not even found on her blog Fun at Home With Kids. I decided to share some of my favorite recipes from her blog and then I let my daughter choose one of the exclusive ones from the book and share some one my favorite tips when you are making play recipes with your kids.

Before we get to the tips let me share my favorite play recipes you can find on Asia’s site Fun At Home With Kids:

edible paint

1. Scented Edible Paint
2. Rainbow Soap Foam Bubbles
3. Borax Free Slime
4. Polka Dot Slime
5. Foaming Dough Recipe : Magic Foaming Snowman

 

What I love about involving your kids in creating the play recipes is that it’s cooking and play all together. A lot of parents express how nervous they are about cooking with their kids or that they don’t have the patience for it. Well try this first. You aren’t a bad parent if you know that cooking dinner with your child will make you nuts. Maybe a play recipe like this will be the perfect compromise!

Browse for some recipes and let your child choose, she chose banana playdough. Letting your child choose the recipe they are going to make isn’t just a fun way to get them excited it’s a great way to model how you browse and read cookbooks. Flip through, read the ingredient lists together, and make shopping lists if need be. In this step along you are modeling real world reading and writing.

banana cooking

Measure out all the ingredients together making note of the numbers on the measuring cups. Cooking can be a wonderful intro to fractions in the real world for kids.banana mash

She loved mashing the bananas. Mashing bananas, avocados, cooked potatoes… and other mashable foods are always a good choice because kids can do this without you stepping in every two seconds. This builds their confidence.

banana cooking with kids

If a big bowl equals a big mess at your house give you child a little bit of the dough ( or whatever you are cooking) in their own smaller bowl and don’t worry if they spill it.

banana playdough

Time to play with it! Even if you are making real food play can absolutely follow. You can play restaurant with the completed meal, invite Barbie for a tea party, or my daughter’s favorite  play” TV Chef” Did I mention she would stop nursing if Giadia was on the TV as an infant? This girl has cooking in her DNA!

If you want the full recipe for the banana playdough  ( and so many others) grab a copy of 150+ Screen Free Activities For Kids by Asia Citro I can’t praise this new book enough. I think of it as my cookbook for sensory play. You can buy it on Amazon  —>  150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids: The Very Best and Easiest Playtime Activities from FunAtHomeWithKids.com! ( affiliate link) and check out the author’s blog here.

Super Bowl Activity -Beast Mode Treats

super bowl food Go Hawks !!  We live just outside of Seattle and my son is a huge Seahawks fan. Even I was on the edge of my seat last week when they won against their rivals the San Francisco 49ers. If I am into a game it’s a big deal.  I asked my son if he wanted to do a Super Bowl activity for the blog with a Seahawks theme and the immediately said he wanted to do something that celebrates one of his favorite players Marshawn Lynch.  Beast Mode is a nickname and the skittles in marshmallow squares are not only in Seahawks colors but are also a shout out to Marshawn Lynch who has had a long history of gobbling skittles or “power pellets ” as his mom called them when he was younger. You can read the whole story straight from his mom here.

Gather your ingredients. You will need marshmallows, crispy rice cereal, butter , vanilla and skittles in blue and green. You will also need a pan, some non-stick spray , a pot and a spatula.  Seahawks Beast Mode Rice Krispie Treats

Start by having your wee ones sort the skittles while you melt 4 tbsp of  butter. seahawks superbowl rice krispies

Add the whole bag of marshmallows, a dash of vanilla and stir . This is a great recipe for kids to help with because the temp is very low. beast mode rice crispie treats for the super bowl

Add the cereal 4.5-5.5 cups… I just add slowly until I like the consistency. Pop them into the pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Add the skittles. seattle seahawks treats for the super bowl

Push some deeper and keep some on top. I don’t add them in the pot because sometimes the color drains off. seahawks beast mode food

Cool and let harden some. Cut and serve. seahawks treats for super bowl sunday

Go Hawks!!!super bowl food

 

 

 

Cooking in the Sink – Sensory Pretend Play

water table ideas for preschool Even though I wish all summer could be spent outside rainy days or too hot days means more time inside and for antsy toddlers that can be hard. This activity occupied my 2 year old for a good 40 minutes and she had fun too. Below are a few tips on how to make play like this last longer without sparing the fun.

  1. Gather your materials. We grabbed an apron, a pot, some corks, spoons and a ladle . We also used dish soap half way through.
  2. Start by filling the sink and asking your child if they want to cook.
  3. Let them play.
  4. Without prompting she threw some corks in and then scooped them out and into the pot. Can you say hand eye coordination development ?
  5. She mixed and splashed . When she was tiring of it I asked if she wanted to look at all the different tools for cooking. She loved the whisk.
  6. Next I asked if she wanted bubbles…of course that was a yes too .water play for kids
  7. The whisk was extra fun in the bubbles. She even caught a cork.
  8. For us the sign that she was done was that these big waves turned into let’s make Mama wet even after reminders that the water stays in the sink. You will find your child’s own end signs where gentle redirection fails and every day will be different, some days this will last a long time others it just won’t. It’s not you or your child it’s just the way it is, if it fails try again another day. 

Throughout the pretend play I followed her lead. She told me it was cheese soup and I asked her questions about her cheese soup, about cooking etc… I know that pretending doesn’t come naturally to all parents but try to at least ask a few questions and indulge their imaginations. It’s OK to feel silly sometimes even if it doesn’t come naturally.

 

Make Green Food For St.Patrick’s Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day. You can’t have St. Patrick’s Day without eating something green and we know how easy that can be with little kids. One way to encourage healthy eating is to play with food, make up recipes and taste test!  So we made these super easy green popscicles that are all natural , no food coloring and we even  had fun playing test kitchen trying a few times to make the color green.

Attempt #1


Ingredients: We opened the fridge and looked for blue and yellow ingredients. We settled on blueberries and lemonade.  You and I both know that it won’t blend to green but as long as the waste isn’t too much let your kids experiment. As soon as my son poured in the lemonade he could see that this was not the mix we needed. It was super tasty though and I blended it and drank it!

Attempt #2


Ingredients : We went back to the fridge and grabbed the spinach. I suggested the yogurt ( vanilla or lemon would make it yummier) and we tried again.

Blended.

Strained the big spinach out.

Froze it

Taste test – he loved it! It tasted like watery lemon to me, if you are going for tasty – add a ripe banana and like mentioned above use vanilla or lemon yogurt. These green treats we made a few years ago were great.

The point of this activity was the process of  trial and error, color mixing and having fun with healthy food!

Happy Hanukkah !

Hanukkah starts tonight at sun down and this year instead of doing a craft we decided to get cooking and make some latkes. Food is a great way to teach your children about traditions whether they are ones you have been celebrating your whole life or if you are exploring them for the first time. Learning about holidays that we don’t celebrate is important to me, it teaches my son about diversity, respect and gives him a richer worldview.

We used a packaged latke mix, this made it simple for my son to make it with little aid from me.  At 4 doing things independently is more important than doing things from scratch, and it was on sale at the market .

I handled the frying. While we cooked we chatted, which for me is my favorite part of our time cooking together.

It got the thumbs up from the cook and Daddy at dinner.

Hanukkah Crafts

Want to make something fun ?  Try one of our Hanukkah Kids Crafts

Book

Latkes, Latkes, Good to Eat: A Chanukah Story by Naomi Howland is a Hanukkah story about kindness repaid and how things can go awry. Sadie is a kind young woman and after she offers her fire wood to an older woman who is cold the older woman repays her with a magic frying pan. This pan magically makes latkes , as many as you want if you say the magic words . Her hungry brothers are overjoyed, their bellies are full but as often happens, they get greedy.  See the frying pan will keep cooking and cooking unless you know the magic words to make it stop, and her brothers didn’t hear those words. Mayhem ensues but the family and village find a way to make the mountains of latkes into a celebration. Beware you will be craving latkes after reading this.